With 67-plus breweries and brewpubs across the state, Vermont has roughly one beer sanctuary for every 9,750 residents. That’s a discerning populace. Not surprisingly, the state’s craft beer scene is among the best in the nation, home to notable breweries like Magic Hat and Otter Creek that helped establish the state’s beer scene in the ’90s, as well as newer innovators like Hill Farmstead and the Alchemist (maker of the famed Heady Topper). Many specialize in hoppy IPAs, but there’s also plenty of experimenting happening that will surprise even the most knowledgeable beer nerds.
Sampling these stand-out suds often means taking a trip to Vermont—many are hard to get outside of the Green Mountain State. But with breweries scattered across the bucolic countryside, it’s not a bad excuse for a New England road trip or a Vermont Airbnb getaway. Start your quest for the best craft beer with these 11 Vermont breweries.
Breweries in and around Burlington
Imbibers can sign up for a tour with Burlington’s City Brew Tours for a no-maps-required taste of the area’s best, but if you decide to DIY make sure you stop by these Burlington-area breweries.
Although Foam Brewers has only been around since 2016, cofounder Todd Haire, formerly the head brewer at Magic Hat, has been in the game for much longer. At Foam, Haire and the team work with local ingredients to turn out an ever-changing, and ever-creative, line of beers that earned it a spot on RateBeer’s list of the top 10 new breweries of 2017.
Delivering on both views and brews, Foam Brewers’ Waterfront taproom, which overlooks Lake Champlain, features a spacious, outdoor patio. Best known for its hoppy ales and sours, you’ll find beers ranging from the hoppy, Cloudside Dwellings IPA, to the tart, mixed culture ale, FOTW 2022, on tap.
How to visit
Foam Brewers is open daily 12–9 p.m. (until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). For a bit of extra fun, time your visit with an event or live music; learn more on its events calendar.
Zero Gravity Brewery
In 2004, Zero Gravity Brewery opened its taproom in downtown Burlington. As interest in its high-quality, classic styles grew—such as the Green State Lager and citra-hopped Conehead IPA—so did its operation. It has since expanded and moved from its downtown location, and visitors can now sample their beers at the 30-barrel brew house on the main drag of Burlington’s hip, artsy South End Arts District, complete with taproom and spacious outdoor patio.
How to visit
Zero Gravity is open daily 8 a.m.–9 p.m., with a coffee and waffle menu on offer from opening until 2 p.m.
Four Quarters Brewing
Experimentation is king at Four Quarters Brewing, a 10-barrel brewery in the hip city of Winooski, just outside Burlington. Here, they use oddball ingredients such as raspberries, pumpkin, and even locally made apple cider doughnuts to make rauchbiers, sours, stouts, and (of course) IPAs. The result? Beers like the breakfasty French Toast Great Beer, a brown ale with maple syrup, french vanilla, and cinnamon.
How to visit
Four Quarters Brewing is open daily from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. (and 10 p.m Thursday through Saturday), with special events throughout the week: Thursday is trivia night and every first and third Sunday it hosts comedy shows.
Burlington Beer Company
Burlington Beer Company’s home is close to Burlington International Airport in a spacious, modern taproom that shares the space with its fermentation tanks. Focusing on hoppy pale ales, fruit-forward beers, porters, and stouts, the team experiments with hops, malts, yeast, fruits, and vegetables to put its own stamp on classic beers.
Brewing up to 75 different beers each year, Burlington Beer Company turns out varieties like Harmonic Convergence (a gose made with boysenberry), Peasant Bread (a wild rice brown ale), and It’s Complicated Being a Wizard (one of its flagship IPAs). If it’s on the tap or to-go list, be sure to try the Beekeeper IPA, brewed with organic Vermont honey.
It also offers a wide selection of snacks, sandwiches, and large entrées from locally sourced ingredients, like Vermont cheeses and New England–raised meat.
How to visit
Burlington Beer Company is open daily 12–9 p.m. in the historic South End of Burlington.
Breweries in northern Vermont
A trip to the small towns and countryside in Vermont’s Northeast and Northwest Kingdoms is a scenic adventure you’ll be well rewarded for taking. In fact, a few of the world’s best breweries are hidden here.
Hill Farmstead Brewery
No list of Vermont’s best breweries is complete without Hill Farmstead Brewery, which is consistently rated not just one of the best in Vermont, but in the world, according to RateBeer. Outside the tiny town of Greensboro in Vermont’s remote Northeast Kingdom, the history of this farm-turned-brewery goes well beyond its official 2010 establishment. Founder Shaun Hill grew up here, in the same area where his family has lived for more than two centuries. In fact, the brewery’s logo comes from a sign that hung outside his great-great-great-grandfather’s tavern in the early 19th century—the first of seven generations to make use of the land.
Having expanded over the years as its popularity grew, the brewery now consists of a cozy, rustic taproom and an adjacent shop where visitors can buy to-go bottles. Hill Farmstead’s stock-in-trade lies in growler fills of its mainstay brews like Edward, a pale ale named after Hill’s grandfather, and Mary, a pilsner named for Edward’s mother and Hill’s great-grandmother. Also keep an eye out for bottles of limited specialties like Twilight of the Idols, a winter porter brewed with cinnamon and coffee and aged on vanilla beans.
How to visit
A visit to Hill Farmstead brewery is a daytime affair because it is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Plan extra time if you’re heading there in inclement weather: It’s located in a rural area off a dirt road.
Often credited for propelling the popularity of the New England–style hazy IPA—a cloudy, more juicy version of more traditional, bitter IPAs—the Alchemist is perhaps best known for the double, hazy IPA that set the trend in motion: Heady Topper. Although it was virtually impossible to find it outside of Vermont until recently, it has nevertheless developed a cult-like following. Devotees have been known to follow delivery trucks on their routes to snap up the beer as soon as it’s delivered.
Drastic measures are not needed for those who make the journey to the Alchemist Brewery in Stowe. Here, fans can sample beers and stock up on cans while ogling the fermentation tanks just on the other side of a plate-glass window that divides the shop and brewery.
How to visit
It used to be that you could only swing by the Alchemist for to-go cans and tastings, but as of November 2022, visitors can now settle in for a proper pint at the Alchemist Beer Cafe, which is open Thursday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Its retail space remains open daily for guests to purchase beers to go.
Von Trapp Brewery
Yup, those von Trapps, the musical family and inspiration for the Julie Andrews movie The Sound of Music. After reaching the United States, they settled in Stowe where they opened a summer camp—which begat a lodge, then a brewery in 2010.
Now stationed in a spacious bierhall down the road from the hotel, the von Trapp Brewery specializes in German- and Austrian-style lagers and pilsners, like its award-winning Bohemian pilsner, Golden Helles lager, and Dunkel brown lager. All of its beers pair well with the variety of Bavarian and American foods on the menu, including hamburgers with meat sourced from the cattle grazing on the surrounding von Trapp land. After you fill up on wursts and weissbier, it’s worth a quick drive up to the main lodge. The view from the hilltop suggests that those hills might very well be alive.
How to visit
Swing by Von Trapp Brewery any day between 11:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. to sample its beers. No matter the season, we recommend staying a little while to enjoy the views, ideally with a bratwurst or pretzel with beer cheese from the restaurant.
Lost Nation Brewing
If ever there was an unassuming location: Lost Nation Brewing sits in the back of an industrial park in the remote town of Morrisville. Its taproom and restaurant deliver on hospitality, though, serving up a range of IPAs, pilsners, black ales, and seasonal specialties. Anyone looking to expand their palate beyond the usual lagers and pale ales should try the brewpub’s gose, a slightly salty, sessionable brew packed with flavor.
How to visit
Lost Nation Brewery’s taproom is open for visitors from 12 p.m. until 7 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. The biergarten is closed during the winter.
Central and southern Vermont breweries
Vermont’s central and southern regions are easily accessible from New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire and full of breweries to set as your destination or visit en route.
Lawson’s Finest Liquids
A brewery that gives back, Lawson’s Finest Liquids stands out not just for its high-quality beer but also for its involvement in the community. From eco-conscious practices like using Earth-friendly products in its operations to small-batch beer collaborations that raise money for charitable causes, these brewers are as committed to their home in Waitsfield as they are to creating great beverages.
Lawson’s focuses on IPAs and unique maple brews. It’s best known for its Sip of Sunshine IPA—technically brewed in Connecticut but available for purchase at the Waitsfield location—but the double and triple versions (Double Sunshine and Triple Sunshine) are much rarer and sought after. If you’re looking for something off the beaten IPA path, give the rich and flavorful Maple Tripple Ale a go.
Beer enthusiasts also have the chance to spend the night at Lawson’s Airbnb at its original brewery location in nearby Warren. It’s close to Vermont’s scenic Mad River Valley, popular for backcountry skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, so guests will have plenty of ways to “earn” that beer at the end of the day.
How to visit
Visit the taproom at Lawson’s Finest Liquids any day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). On most Tuesdays, they host live music, as well as various other events like dinners and festivals, from time to time.
River Roost Brewery
White River Junction
Like Foam Brewers, River Roost Brewery has roots in the Magic Hat family, with former Magic Hat brewer Mark Babson as its owner and operator. The barrel-aged stouts and smoked brown ales stand out, but it’s beers like the 100 Seconds to Midnight black lager and Glimpse double IPA that have local drinkers salivating.
River Roost also sits in White River Junction, at the crossroads of Interstates 89 and 91, and can be reached easily from Boston (a 2-hour drive) and New York City (4.5 hours). The juicy IPAs being brewed alongside the humble, pale wood–furnished taproom make a visit to River Roost Brewery a worthy pit stop.
How to visit
River Roost Brewery is open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on every day except Monday.
Hang up any hankerings for a hoppy IPA at Brattleboro-based Hermit Thrush, where the motto is “yes, they’re all sour.” Here, the brewers focus on barrel-aged, sour beers made from 100 percent wild yeast—quite literally Vermont in a glass.
You’ll always find a wide variety of sours stocked, but first-timers should keep an eye out for the Party Jam series, all of which are kettle-soured beers made from fruits, like blueberry or mango, and local hops. Or get adventurous with beers like its Rowdy Monk sour brown, which was aged for 12 to 18 months in red wine and Scotch barrels.
Additionally, the brewery maintains a focus on sustainability, employing green practices like canning instead of bottling its to-go beers and working to reduce the amount of waste produced with each barrel of beer. Even the taproom embodies this green ethos, with walls made from salvaged wood and other local, reclaimed materials.
How to visit
Hermit Thrush’s indoor taproom is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (until 6 p.m. on Sundays). The outdoor patio is open seasonally.
This article originally appeared online in December 2018; it was most recently updated on January 4, 2022.